I had a layover in Tokyo, Japan. I was excited to be there of course. After all, it’s Japan — home of Sega, Sony, Mt. Fuji, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and Ramen noodles. Even though my impression of the Japanese as reserved and conservative was pretty well warranted, I found after close inspection that their culture, history, and people are anything but. For instance, in 2015 I walked around the Shibuya district and something caught my eye. It was a man who had decided to stand in the middle of the crosswalk in a distinct pose. He broke his concentration only momentarily to rest and regain focus. I interpreted this as an example of performance art or public yoga. Or it could have been just a crazy dude doing something crazy in the middle of Shibuya. I’m not sure. In fact, everything about him is a mystery to me, e.g., his name, occupation, reason for doing this. I snapped a few photos of the guy.
That dude exemplifies the weirdness about Japan that I had come to expect some years before that. About 15 years ago I recall the first time I experienced something that I found weird that happened to be of Japanese origin. I was observing an Asian art exhibit at the National Mall in Washington D.C. staring at a painting of a geisha breaking wind! That’s right. Flatulence! Yeah, you know… farting! Passing gas. Breaking wind. Whatever you call it, it’s certainly embarrassing for most people and not often depicted in art especially not classic art. And yet there it was in a Japanese painting. Check out the link below for more Japanese fart paintings.